Event Planning Basics

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Nonprofit organizations may decide that hosting a conference or gala will further its goals of fundraising, mission awareness, showing appreciation to staff or volunteers, or educating its constituency. Planning an event is not as simple as inviting attendees and choosing a caterer. Among many other things, event planning involves:

  • Making sure the organization has properly registered and is insured to host said event;
  • Selecting a committee that will help prepare and propose an event mission, budget and attendee profile for approval
  • Choosing a facility that best fits the organization’s desired needs and outcomes
  • Choosing a meal plan if appropriate
  • Building a relationship with facility management and staff that will help execute the event
  • Promoting the event to an appropriate target audience
  • Evaluating the issues or success once the event has been implemented

Executing events goes even further beyond the above mentioned considerations and planners should ask themselves questions including but not limited to:

  • How will guests be welcomed or registered?
  • Are keynote speakers appropriate and if so who would be best at speaking on that particular topic and is he/she available and willing to participate?
  • Who from your organization will help staff the event and what roles and responsibilities will they take on? Registration? Site navigation? AV management? Key person/people to handle crises management?
  • What materials will be provided? An event schedule? A map of the event facility? Name tags? Publications? Informational articles?
  • How will those materials be printed and distributed?
  • Will the event require signage? If so, how will signs be printed and distributed?
  • Who is in charge of bringing and setting up event materials?
  • How will the event be evaluated? Did it fulfill its goals and objectives? What could have been done better? Was the event well attended? What kind of feedback did the organization receive from participants?